Monday, April 26, 1999

The Electronic Information "Fad"


Well, apparently investors sobered up. At least, that's what these very clear-headed, nicely-dressed experts have been saying. I've been watching them on the tube for a couple of days, a little more concerned than usual about my portfolio which, if not fully Foolish, is nonetheless based on considerations far-removed from Wise. You see, as the Dow cruises to record highs and there is general applause that the market is "broadening," my own stocks are being hammered like bent fenders in a junkyard.

I have spent some time staring at my printout. Cisco. Sun. AOL. EMC. There's more, but why gild the lily? The Wise guys are breathing a sigh of unconcealed relief; their voices have a giddy note. The bubble is bursting a bit, finally, all of those overvalued companies are being brought back to the rest of the pack. Money is simply moving on to other sectors, seemingly with an historically-imperative sense of direction.

I might've even panicked if I hadn't been nearly catatonic with shock.

But then I remembered. I'm not working at becoming a Fool because the Gardners are entertaining fellows any more than I underline my copy of the Gorilla Game because I have an affinity for big, hairy beings (my affinities are my own business, I figure). No. I made most of these investments fully in harmony with my own evolving semi-Foolish, Gorilla-like, approach. And I did so for a reason.

The Internet isn't a fad. Instant electronic information is in the process of utterly changing the planet and all of its inhabitants. It's a bit like we are each one an interesting but semi-isolated planetary brain cell, and that's the way it's been for a long, long time. We have found ways to reach one another through the centuries, but the process always required switching and censoring stations -- sometimes overseen by hostile governments -- until now. Something profound has happened, and somehow, in some way, we've reached critical mass, found the hundredth monkey or whatever it is.

So, no, Cisco, Sun, and the others are not over-valued. The survivors of this new battlefield will have never been overvalued. My investments are perfectly safe, and all I really have to do is enjoy this incredible show. I'm fortunate enough to have the wherewithal to invest in companies that are actually engaged in creating some of the landscape in a new world. A remarkable time to be alive, don't you think?

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